America’s Next Bill Clinton!

It’s just sex …

Reading one of the Campus Progress web logs this morning, I ran across an interesting statistic – that just about or more than 50 percent of college students are “still virgins.” My question: why do we care? Why is it that, as a society, we treat losing one’s virginity as sort of a rite of passage in which a new person is born and the old, less mature person is gone? It’s to say, as if, a person’s accomplishment in life is based on whether or not that person has engaged in sex. With rite-of-passage teen movies like “American Pie” being a part of the popular culture, it seems the message we’re sending teens is: your worth and dignity is based on whether you’ve “done it.” Yet, they also get messages from the Christian-right about remain “pure” and “untouched” until marriage. The result is a clash of culture, in which, on one hand, the message is about the importance of having sex. On the other hand, the message is about “saving” oneself until marriage. What’s a kid to do, really, in that situation? If virginity is so special, how come the majority of us aren’t even in touch with the person to whom we “lost” it? The truth is when it comes to virginity, there is nothing lost, and nothing gained.

Besides, what’s the exact definition of a virgin anyhow? One who’s pure in both thoughts and mind? One who’s never orgasmed? One who’s never had intercourse? One who’s had intercourse but never orgasm? Does oral sex count? What about priest sex? It’s all confusing, really — yet we’re still obsessed with the idea of virginity.

The fact of the matter is that there are more important things to worry about in one’s lifelong accomplishment than sex and “virginity.” We see movies like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” but we don’t see movies like, “The 40-Year-Old Bum Who Hasn’t Done a Damned Thing to Make the World Better.”

Sometimes, I wonder why. Why can’t we just teach kids, from both the left and the right that sex is something amazing and wonderful that should only be had with responsibility, respect and readiness? Isn’t that a much better message than: if you aren’t having sex, you’re a loser or if you’re having sex, you’re a slut?

Wouldn’t it make the whole abstinence education debate much easier to digest? Wouldn’t it make birth control much more easily gotten? Wouldn’t it strike down patriarchy and society’s ideal of a family at its root? It certainly would. Just by changing our personal outlooks on virginity and sex, we can certainly make move the world in the right political direction.

Second point: why does society put such a strong emphasis on the act of sex? It is, after all, only sex. I don’t mean to sound like a frat boy here, but sex is just an act. It’s neither holy nor God’s gift. It’s neither divine nor special. It’s purely biological, just like any other activity that we engage in as humans. Sure, sex is certainly not making love, but it’s got a quality of its own. Just like going for a walk, having dinner or spending the afternoon with someone, sex is just an act. It only becomes special when the person with whom we are sharing it is special. Other than that, sex is just – sex. Why make things any complicated than life already is? To be sure, one should always be monogamous in a relationship, but let’s not treat sex anymore special than just a kiss. A kiss, after all, without any emotions put into it, is just a kiss.

 Kind of funny, too, how “virginity” never seems to be an issue discussed when it comes to the LGBT community. I guess to the right, “virginity” is only important when baby-making is involved.

3 Comments so far
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I think sex is just sex when it comes to males but when it comes to females, it is a whole other issue. Women are supposed to value and prize their virginity…men, not so much.

Comment by Trish

it’s not just that women are “supposed” to value their virginity.

for some people (both male and female) it is not “just sex.” Personally I have an intesnse emotional reaction to the act. Hell, eating certain foods will make me cranky later in the day. I think sex is a much bigger deal than drinking a glass of milk.

of course I know one girl who couldn’t stand monogamous relationships because she didn’t want to not have sex with random people in bars.

I also know a 20-something male who is saving himself for love. (and he’s a socialistic athiest so it has nothing to do with god)

But while I disagree that it is “just sex,” I do agree that far to much emphasis is put on it in this culture. I’ve been chastised for not having sex with one of my boyfriends, (by a female). Isn’t it my body and my choice? I don’t care what you do, but I’m living in a way that I’m comfortable with.

I wish I could view it as “just sex.” I’d get laid much more often.

Comment by nakedthoughts

I agree with Trish, assuming she’s saying that the difference is socialized, which I think she is. Here’s my impression of the message males get: “Don’t have sex until you’re married…oh who am I kidding, you’re a sex-MACHINE! You can’t help it! Now go out there and get some! Don’t come home till you’ve laid half the cheerleaders on the squad! That’s ma boy!” Here’s my impression of the message females get: “Your virginity is something of value. If you give it away too easily, that makes you – not sex, but you as a person – cheap. You have to guard your virginity , and men can’t help themselves, so you have to do all the work and be responsible at all times. The most important thing is that men value you highly, that’s how you tell if you’re good enough or not. Men won’t value you if you give away sex or if you’re immodest, too easy. Men won’t value you if you don’t have sex with them or if you’re not sexy, too prudish. So it’s really very simple.”

Of course there are people who tell males not to have sex and actually mean it, and there are people who tell females to go out and enjoy it, but I think the idea that men have a lot more lust is pretty universal in our culture. And even if females are allowed to have sex and enjoy it, it’s still at the risk of forfeiting some power or dignity or something, because there will still be people who will think less of them for it.

The big question is, why do religions get so hung up on sex? Some of them have restrictions on another pleasurable biological function, eating. But sex seems like a much bigger deal, at least in Christianity. Is it that religions want to restrict pleasure because pleasure seems selfish? Or because it makes us lose control? I think those are part of it. Is it misogyny? Maybe. I think a lot of the stuff about sex was originally articulated from a very androcentric point of view, so that it was about men and how they should deal with women. They got the message that women are temptresses, they’ll seduce you, watch out! If sex is evil, those women are evil too. So then they make a big deal about the women who follow their rules and are super modest and take all the responsibility for sexual morality. You know what’s funny about women like that? They don’t use sex to manipulate. I have a theory that women have learned to use sex manipulatively because it was the only power available to them. I don’t think that power goes very far, and it certainly doesn’t earn them respect, but I think it’s often a last resort, and at this point, it’s become sort of a normal way for a woman to get something. But women aren’t supposed to have power over men, so when the men figured out what they were doing, they got mad and demonized the sort of power the women were using, to try to keep them from using even that. Not that I think it’s at all good to use sex to get someone to do something, but I can hardly blame the women who have been in that position.

Comment by judgesnineteen

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